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EABIC - The Priestly Order of Rastafari

On the 1st March 1958, the E.A.B.I.C, the Ethiopia Africa Black International Congress, was formed by Prince Emmanuel Charles Edwards.

Known as the Priestly Order of Rastafari, the Ethiopia Africa Black International Congress, Church of True Divine Salvation for Bobo Rasta, or Bobo Shanti, Prince Emanuel Charles Edwards founded the EABIC in Jamaica in 1958 (prior to Jamaica's independence in 1962).

The Bobo Shanti advocate repatriation of all black people to Africa, and that black people should be reimbursed monetarily for slavery. The Bobo Shanti use Revelations 5 to justify Prince Emmanuel as the reincarnation of Christ, the reincarnate Black Christ in a priestly state. By most members of the Bobo Shanti, he was called "Prince Emmanuel Charles Edwards, without Mother or Father, a Priest of Melchezidek, the Black Christ in the Flesh." Prince Emmanuel is called "Dada" by his followers, who see him as part of a holy Trinity, in which Haile Selassie of Ethiopia is King/God (Jah), Marcus Garvey is prophet, and Emmanuel is high priest after the priesthood order of Melchizedek. Almost all sacred songs and tributes to their ancient trinity of prophet, priest, and king ends with the phrase "Holy Emmanuel I Selassie I Jah Rastafari."

The Bobo Shanti are a self-sufficient group whose members grow their own produce. They also live separately from society and the other Rastafari orders in their current base in the Nine Miles area of Bull Bay, Jamaica. They function similarly to the Accompong Maroons, even though it is not official, like an independent nation within Jamaica with their own constitution. They do not accept the values and lifestyle of the wider Jamaican society. The members of the Bobo Shanti "house", sometimes called Bobo Dreads, dress very differently from all the other orders, wearing long robes and very tightly wrapped turbans. The Bobo Shanti lifestyle closely emulates that of the Old Testament Mosaic Law, including hygiene laws for menstruating women, and the observation of the Sabbath from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday (when no work is allowed). The consumption of salt and oil is avoided. Members of the order do not smoke marijuana in public, as it is only reserved for worship among members.

Bobos greet each other using the formal address "Blessed Love My Lord and Empress" and are most notable for their wearing of turbans and long flowing robes, as well as brooms they carry with them, which signify cleanliness. These brooms and other crafts such as straw hats are also sold in Kingston as a way to provide funds for the community. The Bobos have established a strong relationship with the local community outside of Bobo Hill and often invite people to their services. Membership of the Ethiopia Africa Black International

Congress is increasingly growing globally, as their members are seen in Africa, Europe, North and South America and throughout the Caribbean. A turban is not always a sign of a Bobo; there has also been a noted trend amongst some Rastafari outside of the Bobo Order in the wearing of "turbans", as evident amongst some reggae artists. Nevertheless, these Rastas are often mistaken for Bobos in Jamaica. Amoung Bobo Dreads, it is readily accepted that being a member of the Priesthood Order requires more than simply the covering of ones head.

Bobos say that "Africa" is the name that the European colonizers gave to Ethiopia, or "Jerusalem". Many see black supremacy ideas as essential to the faith, and in the Bobo (and Rastafarian) conception, the true Ethiopian Israelites are black men and women, who are Royal Ethiopians from creation birth, scattered during the African diaspora. Bobos believe that black skin, skin blessed by the sun, is original, and they consider black women as mothers of creation. The Black Supremacy concept is symbolic, with black representing "good," and white "evil", but it is not about the colour of the skin. Bobo priests say, "It´s better a white skin man with a black heart than a black skin man with a white heart." Women cover their legs, arms, and head in practice of the Queen Omega principles. Nearly all the men within the community are seen as prophets or priests, whose functions are to “reason” and conduct religious and parliamentary services, respectively.

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